July 12, 2010

Who manufactures the weapons used in Darfur? Who makes the bullets?

According to Amnesty International, the majority of weapons flowing into Darfur come from China and Russia. Data from 2005 show that Sudan imported $83 million worth of arms, ammunition, aircraft, helicopters, and parts from China. AviChina, a corporation tat specializes in aircraft, has provided Sudan with aircraft and helicopters. China Aviation Industry Corporation I’s subsidiary Beijing Aviation Science and Technology Co. (BASC) sends flight simulators for K-8S jets to Sudan.

In 2005, Sudan imported $33 million worth of aircraft equipment and helicopters from Russia. Belarus signed a military cooperation protocol with Sudan in 2006 and has continued to send armored personnel carriers, 122mm guns, and howitzers. Sudan does have a domestic arms production industry, but much of their arms are made from parts imported from abroad.

One vehicle of war in Sudan is the Land Rover, a vehicle made by the UK company called Land Rover, which is a subsidiary of Ford Motors. Executives at Ford Motors claim that, upon becoming aware of the uses for which their rovers are being used, they have stopped exporting them.

Sudan is not the only place where weapons are deadly. Indeed, there is no place where there are casualty-free weapons. The nature and purpose of a weapon are to quickly and messily dispossess a person of his existence. Apparently, existence dispossession is a growing market. Hundreds of companies manufacture firearms, ammunition, powder, and accessories for weapons.

The question remains: how can weapons manufacturing be stopped without violence? This question is addressed by the surreal artistic genius Jean-Pierre Jeunet, the maker of Amelie and City of Lost Children, in his film Micmacs. He takes on the horror of weapons manufacturers with beauty, humor, and imagination.

Micmacs is about Bazil, a man whose father was killed by a land-mine and whose livelihood was lost after being shot in the head. He is kindly adopted by a band of salvagers with circus talents who help in his quest to take down the manufacturers of the weapons that destroyed his life. By setting two executives against each other, and by playing off their fears, paranoia, and own evil behaviors, Bazil and his friends are able to destroy them without violence of malice.

Micmacs is playing through Thursday the 22nd at the Regent Square Theater.

References: Sudan: arms continuing to fuel serious human rights violations in Darfur; Amnesty International; http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGAFR540192007&lang=e


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